Above, Dubuque Presentation Sister Corine Murray (right), executive director of the Presentation Lantern Center for 14 years, passes the lantern on to Sarah Gieseke who recently became the center’s new executive director.
In May, the Presentation Lantern Center board of trustees, staff, tutors and English language students welcomed Sarah Gieseke, the center’s new executive director. Sarah, a native of Wisconsin, has lived and worked in several places in the United States and beyond its borders. As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, she studied for one year in France. Sarah also earned a master’s in international human rights degree from the University of Denver, with a self-directed specialization in migrant and refugee issues.
Sarah has worked in a wide variety of places, in both government and nonprofit sectors: as a refugee caseworker for the U.S. Refugee Program in Nairobi, Kenya; as a volunteer for the Harpswell Foundation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; as a graduate intern at Rabbis for Human Rights in Jerusalem and the West Bank; as an AmeriCorps VISTA in emergency preparedness in Louisiana; and as an asylum officer for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Washington D.C. area. The wisdom she acquired through these experiences, her heart for advocacy and passion for immigrants will guide her well as she serves Presentation Lantern Center students from around the world.
Sister Corine Murray, retiring executive director, reflects on the past 14 years, “I’ve viewed the world through the eyes of people from five continents and 56 different countries and it has been an amazing experience. I feel connected to so many places; I now watch world news with a different pair of eyes.”
Throughout history, education has opened the door to a new and better life. The mission of the center which is to offer hospitality, educational opportunities and advocacy for adult immigrants, especially women, who are striving to better their lives, is a wonderful fit for Sarah. “I am so happy to be working to assist immigrants in Dubuque,” shares Sarah, “which is near my family in southwest Wisconsin. I am looking forward to continuing Sister Corine’s exceptional legacy at the Lantern Center.”
Sarah enjoys the diversity found in the human race and feels a personal calling to be an advocate for inclusion. Just like Sister Corine, Sarah and the center’s volunteer tutors will continue to change lives.